The ACC announced Sunday that its council of presidents unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse, a move that increases its membership to 14 and sends the Big East scrambling - again - to replace two of its cornerstone programs.
"We are constantly evaluating the competitive landscape to ensure the conference’s viability for years to come, and this, I believe, has staying power," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said on a conference call.
The announcement caps a turbulent week of reshuffling for the ACC. It likely will lead to another dramatic shift in college athletics and could mark the next step toward the era of 16-team superconferences.
... 11 of 12 league presidents attended a meeting in Greensboro, N.C., last Tuesday, with the other participating by phone. During the meeting, they unanimously approved raising the exit fee to $20 million - up from $12 million to $14 million - for any member leaving the conference, a maneuver seemingly designed to keep the remaining ACC schools in the fold.
The latest moves are sure to create even more bad blood between two conferences that became embroiled in a nasty lawsuit the last time the ACC expanded by adding schools from the Big East. A multibillion dollar settlement reached in 2005 included the scheduling of nine interconference football games.
Pitt and Syracuse bring the number of programs making the Big East-to-ACC jump in the past decade to five, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said the most recent moves were "kind of a shock to everybody."
Syracuse was one of the original targets of a previous round of expansion by the ACC along with Miami and Boston College in 2003.
Via ACC Sports
Syracuse was Swofford's top target years ago, before the VA legislature forced the league to take VTech. Their football history in the past is OK, but as you all know, for the last decade they have been terrible. This is a basketball move to appease Duke and UNC, who were sad that our basketball conference stature had fallen to the BE. They give the ACC a foothold in the NYC TV market. However, people in NYC are more Pro sports fans than college, and since Syracuse football sucks, this addition doesn't strengthen the ACC's case for a TV contract that is primarily driven by football eyes.
Pittsburgh is more of the same, but instead of just being awful at football, they're mediocre. They haven't been a power since the early 1980s under Johnny Majors, and haven't challenged that much for the Big East since. Its another basketball-driven addition and gets a foothold in the Philly/Pitt TV markets.
You know how we feel about this move. From what I'm hearing, Clemson's full BOT did not give approval to Barker to raise that exit fee, but he voted for it anyway on the spot. A $20 M exit fee is nearly double of the prior fee, but prohibitive enough that any chance of Clemson pulling out is nil. Technically, the difference in the SECesque TV deal vs what the ACC has now means that Clemson could take a loan out and pay the fee and pay it off within a decade easily. Swofford was/is scared to death of Clemson and FSU leaving.
What does it mean for Clemson to add these two? Well they're not good at football. Pitt would be a challenge of course, possibly an annoying gnat like BC. They're both good at basketball, so winning the ACC will become tougher once again. Now, we're even lower in the midpack. It could however improve our basketball recruiting footprint, but we don't even own Atlanta so I'm not very optimistic about that point. In baseball they weaken the conference.
However unless the ACC goes to 16, and adds a quality football program, I don't think we renegotiate a substantial TV increase. UConn would've been a better addition in that regard. Louisville has more football-crazy fans and will improve under Charlie Strong, and we'd have Pitino in the league. Personally I want West Virginia - small TV market but quality football and basketball, and more of a "southern" type of fanbase. I don't know how FSU and Miami fans feel about South Florida, but their program will eventually become very good. They have $$$ and a huge alumni base, and an Adminstration that doesn't have its head up its ass about football. SF would give us another trip to the state and help in recruiting -- how can the ACC not see that? They just don't add any football eyes.
I think we will end up at 16, but I hope we don't take any more Big East teams besides those two.